20 March 2013

Killing Painkillers



Killing Painkillers:

Major Pain, reporting for duty.

MS comes with it. Neuropathy, muscle pain, spasms, tingles, burners, zingers, and aches, in varying strengths and lengths and in any area. I chose to battle the sudden onslaught with muscle relaxers and a narcotic pain reliever.

With my background of helping nursing students through anatomy and physiology, and my degree focusing on anthropologic sociology of health and wellness, I am not a good patient. I’m an aggravating, semi-demanding, know-it-all with only my survival needs mattering in the maze of the modern-medical complex. I came armed with knowledge and particular questions and an attitude. I’m not the average patient (no one is), and patronization pisses me off. “I’m not… You will… and I need” is my modus operandi … It is not pretty. I had to eyeroll him once when I showed him a trick with reading the MRIs …
Dr. “Oh wow, how did you do that!” …
Me: “First you do this then click here and roll your wheel…”
Dr: “Huh! I learned something new… I never knew about that”.
Me: *smirk* “I told you before; I do this for a living.”

When you get in the rhythm of neurologist visits, it’s every month until they get a diagnosis and get you on meds. After that, it is every six months…”Howdy, hey, how’re you doing, uh-huh, uh-huh, here’s six months of refills, see you later, bye”.

Well he can’t give a six month refill on a narcotic, so on our last visit in January, he gave me one more month Rx of the narcotic and six months of an anti-seizure drug commonly used to treat nerve pain. Supposed to be taken strictly, regularly, and without stopping unless talking to him first, this medication is well known to me. I have been warned, and I’ve seen it make people cuckoo-crazy.

I refuse to take it; I’m not in that much pain, right?! I split up the narcotic pain medication to make it last, and it helped dull everything and let me relax enough to sleep, yet it added to tiredness, and could jack-up the digestive system. Also, the wasteland epidemic of hard-addicted people it has left in its wake.  For certain it helped, I was more than grateful to have it, however MS is one big side effect, and adding new side effects to it doesn’t help me.

I’ve been building a life-long habit of NOT taking the medicines prescribed by my doctors, unless I feel I’m in desperate need. As I have said before, I’ve maintained a scant conventional medicine cabinet. I will, however, use near surgical precision with the medications I deem worthy of accepting. More often than not though, I’ve been heard to say: “Aw, naw… I ain’t taking THAT shit.”

I don’t function well without the muscle relaxers. The way MS affected me, damaged nerves lead to periods of spasms of confused muscles. Allowing them to chill out enables me to move more fluidly. The stumbles and falls are a direct result of those confused muscles (temporarily) unable to operate my personally learned balance.

I can only describe it as like being a toddler again, learning which muscles turn and balance. Reorientation is what I’m focused on trying to do. Now that I feel that have stopped the barreling train of damage my body was inflicting on itself, I’m going to try to start backing it up. I’m still not in remission, it’s still pretty bad, but I’m not getting “worse”.  The relaxers are enabling me to reconnect with the world and relearn balance, and I feel I have tweaked the amounts and scheduling to their most beneficial, and am near religious about Copaxone, and feel it is finally holding me steady.

I’m fairly proud to announce that I’m on zero pain medications. I haven’t even taken an aspirin in a couple of weeks. I do experience the pain, but I have begun to learn my limits. I just can not push myself as physically as I have been able to.

I told my sons I have been lucky to have lived this long with my particular super-human abilities, and now I’m like the rest of the mortals. Along with having already been in a better position than most to absorb the changes brought on by MS, I have learned to use natural means, stretching, semi-meditations, and good old rest to deal with pain when I experience it.

Furthermore, since taking the last of the narcotics, any side effects that came with them have vanished and I feel ten times better by that alone.

Maybe it’s because Spring is here, happy equinox everybody! That may have bearings on the up-tick. A combination of new resolve, sunshine, and plain old fashioned taking it. Sounds like a plan to me. I’ll let you know how it goes.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for writing such a detailed account of your MS experience, Darla. I've been quite naive of MS and its effects, and your account is informative. I've learned a great deal while enjoying your writing. Thank you.

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